Candidate Q&A: Shelby Williams runs for Place 5 seat on Plano City Council

7

Shelby Williams is running for Plano City Council, Place 5. He is running against candidate Byron Bradford and incumbent Council Member Ron Kelley.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Williams a list of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His responses below have been edited for publication style.

Why are you running for a Plano City Council seat?

I was recruited to run against the incumbent (and one of my opponents) by the very people who worked so hard and gave so much to get him elected just four short years ago, and are now so disillusioned and disappointed by what he has done since taking office. So many feel betrayed that he ran as one person, and has evolved into someone completely different on City Council. Having been asked to do this, I feel an enormous responsibility to the people of Plano and I will not let them down. Candidates for public office are supposed to clearly and unequivocally tell the people who they are and what they stand for, then let the people decide if that’s who they want representing them. If elected, they have a solemn duty to be that person in office, and hold true to the principles they represented. I have pledged to the overwhelming number of people who support me that I will always say what I mean, and mean what I say, and if I betray their trust I expect to be held accountable, just as all our elected representatives should be held accountable. We serve the people—not the other way around.

What are your qualifications for seeking this office?

Having spent my entire career in business, with an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, I’ve never before run for elective office, nor ever been a politician, which is one of my greatest strengths. I am an informed, engaged citizen—and there is nothing more threatening to entrenched government power. My three daughters will inherit the world we give them, and I have a duty as a father to them to give them the best world possible. That’s exactly what I’ll do and is a key component of why I am running. Candidates for public office must be informed, intelligent, engaged and dedicated. But above all, they must be principled, always act in the best interest of the people, and always remember that city money is not the city’s money—it’s the people’s money, and we owe it to them to be responsible financial stewards. I am completely transparent—what you see is what you get, and I am accountable to you, my constituents. I will reach out to you for your thoughts and concerns on specific issues. Likewise, my personal cell phone number is on my cards and my website, and you are free to access me as needed.

If elected, what would your top priorities be?

1. Transparency—People must be given the full truth (for instance, lowering the tax rate slightly while property values skyrocket equals raising taxes).

2. Limiting additional multifamily housing—Multifamily housing already makes up one-third of housing in Plano, while many of our neighbors are in the single-digits. I’ll fight to ensure that Plano remains the “City of Excellence,” and that we preserve and enhance the beautiful suburban character we all love.

3. Property taxes—While my incumbent opponent touts his reduction of the tax rate over the last three years, I will work to reduce your actual tax burden, which he has in reality increased by a third since four years ago, despite inflation averaging just 2.5 percent per year, and population growth only 1 percent per year. Citizens know deep down their taxes have not been cut, and I have already testified at the Capitol for property tax reform and relief. We must adopt the effective tax rate for at least two years to freeze taxes and restore fiscal sanity.

4. Clean, pure, safe water—I will drive dutiful oversight of the North Texas Municipal Water District to ensure we have clean, pure, safe water at all times, and we avoid the need for annual chlorine burns.

If elected, would you generally support or oppose rezoning requests that include multifamily residential options, such as apartments?

As Plano has grown over the decades, the city has historically done a good job with our city planning, but we are mostly built out. Now our City Council has additional plans to build more apartments, and measured, deliberate zoning seems to have become an afterthought, let alone the congestion and density which result, and Plano already has the second highest population density of any city in Texas our size or larger. While Plano’s population has only grown an average of 1.5 percent over the last five years, our neighbors to the north are growing like wildfire, and we are the only thing standing between them and Dallas—so everyone drives through Plano. We all feel the worsening traffic situation. There’s no stopping the growth of the human race, but to preserve our treasured suburban character, growth must be managed responsibly and gradually. Moreover, much of the multifamily housing under development, with monthly rent exceeding the average homeowner’s mortgage payment, and obscuring ever-escalating property taxes without the protection of the homestead exemption, doesn’t provide the affordable housing options that many families need.

Share this story
7 comments
COMMENT
  1. Jeremy Trovalli

    Wow, this is a spectacularly deceptive and dishonest candidate.

    “Property taxes—While my incumbent opponent touts his reduction of the tax rate over the last three years, I will work to reduce your actual tax burden, which he has in reality increased by a third since four years ago, despite inflation averaging just 2.5 percent per year, and population growth only 1 percent per year.”

    Uh.. home prices and the associated property tax rates have increased in the last 4 years, yet Shelby Williams blames this on the city council members who have only cut the property tax rates. Despite Mr Shelby’s deceptive claims, property taxes are tied to property values, not inflation or population growth.

    If you vote for this obvious liar he will disgrace Plano with his unethical behavior.

    • Agreed. And as a city official, what exactly would he — could he — actually do to make our water “safer”? Does he realize that our water is supplied by the North Texas Municipal Water District? Or that the City of Plano is in the process of suing NTMWD?

      Ditto for his nasty attack on the incumbent. If Shelby was honest, he’d state it this way: “Unlike the incumbent, I’m willing to serve as a stooge for the Angry Crowd.” Make no mistake: any Angry Crowd-endorsed candidate has no interest in serving all of the citizens of Plano. They’ve taken loyalty oaths to serve only a small number of slightly insane right-wingers who think that all of Plano’s national honors were won through a liberal conspiracy.

    • David Fincannon

      You have been watching CNN here haw to much with these lashing out. Between the current and former city manager, they only want their chosen to be elected so they can build another apartment complex so that traffic gets worse and worse. Drain the Plano swamp. We need real citizens on the council not more lawyers.

      • Jeremy Trovalli

        I’m lashing out? What about the fragrant liar and scam artist that has predicated their entire campaign on defeating an incumbent by telling blatantly obvious lies about him.

        This entire Q&A is an awful diatribe against Plano which is so dripping with dishonesty and hate that most reasonable people are recoiling in disgust.

        The angry crowd only wants to bring stagnation and decline to Plano because their inaccurate and hateful ideology can only function with a bogus scapegoat to blame all of their personal misfortune and insecurities on.

        I don’t agree with the incumbent on everything, but personally I favor high quality development because the only alternative is the slow decline that is hollowing out suburbs around DFW. Do you really want Plano’s supermarkets, restaurants and stores to be replaced by empty storefronts and decaying strip malls? If so, why don’t you just move to one of DFW’s many declining suburbs where your policies of stagnation and decline have been “working” for decades…

      • Really? That’s your best shot? That’s all you got?

        Fact #1: I hate CNN. Fact #2: Plano has the lowest taxes in north Texas and literally some of the best services/amenities in the country. Our community wins national awards. And yet you want to “drain the swamp”? I suppose you’d rather take your chances with the “chosen” candidates, handpicked for the good people of Plano by a couple of Midland-based right wing ideologues? That makes perfect sense – go for the wingnuts’ stooges instead of the people with the proven track record of bringing great services for the lowest taxes.

        What channel are YOU watching? Tinfoil Hat TV??

        • David Fincannon

          You definately drank the koolaid. Next thing you will call me is a racist like the out going city manager has called people who don’t buy the establishment’s garbage. You need to go back to your home in Highland Park and stay out of Plano local politics. I bet you supported the million dollar fountain.

    • Shelby Williams

      Jeremy, I welcome your perspective. You may likewise welcome some facts, easily found on Plano’s Budget Portal and CollinCAD.org. It’s pretty simple, it’s a two-part equation: your property’s value * the city tax rate = your tax burden. When property values skyrocket year over year and the tax rate remains the same, your tax burden skyrockets commensurately. When your property value skyrockets and your tax rate goes down by only a hair, your taxes still go up significantly.

      We’ve all been trained like performing seals to nod along with the line that the tax “rate” had been cut and think we’re being served. But what is the “rate”? It’s just a ratio. Do you care about a ratio or do you care how much of your actual hard-earned money goes to the tax man?

      But wait, there’s more! Why has the rate been cut ever-so-slightly over the past three years to begin with, you may ask? It’s so the dreaded “rollback rate” would not be exceeded. What is the “rollback rate” you may further inquire? That’s the limit, set at 8% by Texas State Law, above which the city can’t raise your taxes in a given year without tipping their hand, letting us all know what’s going on, and allowing the people to vote on the tax increases.

      The property values in Plano have been increasing so much in the past few years that if the City Council left the tax “rate” alone, the actual increase to your taxes would have been greater than that 8% each year, and they’d have to allow you to vote on it. Rather than risk the taxpayers having a say, they lowered the rate each of the last three years just enough to stay under the 8% rollback rate and get their tax increase. Which is why, over the four years since the last Place 5 election, taxes have increased by 32%, with the help of each and every vote by my opponent.

      This, kids, is why it’s important to study your math.

Leave A Reply

Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Dallas Morning News and The Associated Press in Oklahoma City.
Back to top